Some amazing stats from the Mediabistro AllFacebook Marketing Conference this morning, where Vincent Sider, VP of Social Media for the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, bemoaned the impact of Facebook's new EdgeRank algorithms. For anyone who's not run into this problem, Facebook recently tweaked its backend settings to prevent so much corporate content from reaching Fans' News Feeds. As a consequence, some brands' posts are now reportedly seen by as few as 6% of their Fans. Yep, just six percent. Pretty hard to get return on that investment.
This has hit BBC Worldwide hard. Vincent reported that Facebook's EdgeRank changes resulted in 27.8% fewer visits from Facebook to the Top Gear website, while average daily reach as a % of fans plummeted from 38% in July to just 14% in October. The net result? A loss of revenue of £139,755 for Top Gear.
Facebook's solution? If you want to reach more people, you should consider promoting your great content with sponsored stories and paid-for promoted posts. That's fair enough - they're a business. But, Vincent Sider reckons that he'd have to spend £300,000 each and every month to make up the shortfall in referral traffic, which is simply immense.
His solution? Apps. If the content he's putting out there isn't making its way into people's News Feeds, he's banking on the apps he develops forcing stuff in there instead. So, over the coming months, we can expect to see a BBC Good Food Advent Calendar app, another for Doctor Who's Christmas comeback and even one to announce the resignation of every BBC Director General (okay, we made that one up).
It's a sound strategy - and, here at buyapowa, all our unique social commerce solutions are available as apps which our clients use day-in-day-out on their Facebook pages. Apps are brilliant. But they're never going to be the be-all-and-end-all because, no matter how sophisticated Facebook's Open Graph framework (and even that's being restricted soon), an app is only ever going to post things like: 'Dave read this recipe' or 'Judith watched the return of the Cybermen'.
That might be fine for the BBC, but how do app-generated messages work for... say, FMCG brands or retailers? It's just not enough to say that Bobby bought some socks. What you need to do is get Bobby posting himself about these socks - where he bought them, how he bought them and WHY he bought them. You need advocacy, you need enthusiasm, you need human-generated content that skips past Facebook's EdgeRank restrictions straight to the top of Bobby's friends' News Feeds.
And the only way to get that? Give Bobby compelling reasons to post those things. Incentivise him with gaming elements, maybe even a better deal. Make sharing super-easy and super-fun. Engage with him so that he engages with you and celebrates your brand with his friends. We make that happen (for partners as varied as Pfizer, Sony and, coincidentally, BBC Worldwide). We turn Facebook on.